SharkBite is a brand of push-to-connect fittings for plumbing. The main benefits of SharkBite fittings include ease of installation, the ability to rotate the fittings after installation and the ability to disconnect and reuse fittings at any time. They're also compatible with pipes made from a variety of materials, so you can connect pipes made of different materials with one simple fitting. This makes it easy to connect the copper pipes of a shower valve to PEX water supply pipes without needing to use any type of glue or crimping tool.
Confirm SharkBite Compatibility
Start by confirming that each pipe is made of a SharkBite-compatible material: PEX, CPVC, PE-RT, HDPE and copper. You don't need to worry about adding a PEX-stiffener to the fitting for PEX, PE-RT or HDPE pipes; SharkBite fittings include these by default. There's also no need to remove this stiffener if you're using CPVC or copper piping.
Cut and Clean the Pipe
The end of the pipe must be cut squarely (as opposed to at an angle) and cleanly before being inserted into the SharkBite fitting. Use pipe shears for soft pipes and a rotary pipe cutter for copper or PVC. Copper pipes absolutely must be deburred before inserted into the SharkBite fitting or the connection may not hold, but all pipes should be wiped clean of debris after cutting. Note that SharkBite sells a two-in-one tool that deburrs pipes and comes in handy for measuring the pipe insertion level in the next step.
Measure the Insertion Depth
To ensure the pipe is completely secure within the SharkBite fitting, it must be inserted to the correct depth. SharkBite publishes a table on their website that you can refer to. In order to find the correct depth measurement on the chart, you need to know either the nominal pipe size according to the copper tube size standard measurement or you need to measure the outer diameter of the pipe.
Then, find that measurement on the chart and note the corresponding insertion depth in either inches or millimeters. Measure from the end of the pipe and mark a line with a permanent marker at the appropriate insertion depth.
Don't have time to wield a tape measure or keep checking the chart from your phone? SharkBite created a depth gauge tool that works for pipes ranging from 1/4 inch to 1 inch. Simply place the end of the pipe all the way into the appropriately sized hole and mark the pipe where it meets the top of the gauge. Rotate the pipe both directions to deburr it with the same tool.
Connect SharkBite to Shower Valve
All you need to do next is push the SharkBite connections into the shower valve on one side of the fitting and push the PEX water supply lines to the other side. The insertion depth mark should line up with the top of the SharkBite fitting when the pipe has been inserted properly. Twist the pipes slightly inside the fitting to lock them in place.
Repeat the process for the line leading to the tub spout and the line leading to the showerhead. Turn on the main water valve leading to the shower to test all connections before continuing with the shower valve installation.
Not sure which fittings you need for a shower valve? SharkBite sells a shower installation kit that you may find helpful.